Sunday, September 23, 2018

FNG Review: Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora. Unpgd. Little, Brown and Company, October 2, 2018. 978031643218. (Review from arc courtesy of publisher via SLJ Basecamp.)

There is a note to the reader on the front end-pages that explains the pronunciation of "Omu," (AH-moo) and the fact that it is the Igbo term for queen. Take a closer look at the collage of a neighborhood and you see that the story actually begins there. A ribbon wafts out of a window at the top floor of a building. The title page shows a white-haired lady toting shopping bags in front of a building where a black pot sits in a top floor window. 

Omu is making red stew. When she tastes it, she proclaims it the best she ever had. With the aroma of her stew drifting out the window, she goes to read a book while the stew simmers and thickens.

Someone knocks on the door. She opens it to find a little neighbor boy drawn by the delicious smell. She shares it with him. Once he is on his way, she returns to her book only to hear another knock at her door. It is a police officer. The stew is large, so she shares. And shares. And shares as one neighbor after another knocks.

At dinnertime, Omu finds her stew pot empty. But then there is another knock at her door.

This exuberant debut is sure to be a favorite read aloud. It's sort of a reverse Stone Soup. The crisp collages help propel the story of a generous soul. There's a lot to like here from the multicultural cast of neighbors to the small details in the collage work to the heartwarming story. Thank you, Omu! is not to be missed!

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